June Middlebury Arts Walk – Featuring beanforest

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beanforest logo

For the June 2014 Middlebury Arts Walk the store is featuring button art by artist, Vince of beanforest. All the way from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Keeping with the theme I set for 2014: Celebrate Words. Dozens of wearable buttons spouting all sorts of thoughts relating to books, authors, reading, literature, etc.

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sampling of beanforest buttons

A little info about Vince: In elementary school, he often got in trouble for laughing at inappropriate times. In middle school, he often told failed jokes that were met with confused silence. His sense of humor finally balanced out somehow in high school. He enjoys writing, drawing, mixing metaphors, biking, meeting people, reading, anticipating the break in electronic dance music, anomalies, and dozens of thousands of other things, Writing in the third person distresses him.

All button orders are stamped by hand either by Vince or a friend, and with the exception of classic literature quotes in the public domain (Shakespeare, Melville, etc.), all artwork and phrases are original, written and designed by him. He offers so much more than what I chose as I kept to the theme of a bookstore.

You can find Vince (as I did!) on etsy.com or through his art/comic blog at jankybeanforest.blogspot.com.

My favorite button? “hell ya, helvetica!” For its randomness.

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June 2014 Middlebury Arts Walk display featuring beanforest

So my friend goes to Paris…

and, of course, he goes to Shakespeare & Company (twice!). He so nicely brought me a gift.

Perfect! Right?  And no, I won’t sell it. Promise! (Yes, I’ve been known to sell my daughter’s books as I’m reading them in the bookstore. Sorry, Hannah…) It’s definitely a book that goes home with me. Thanks, Bill!

“Paris in May” and the May Arts Walk Celebrating “Words through Art”

Lots going on in here! And of course…there’s always the used books…

paris2Paris in May! Celebrating all that’s French. Particularly Paris. Why? Why not?  Read my previous post to catch-up, if you want. Shakespeare & Co. is the focal point and acknowledging Sylvia Beach and George Whitman, Paris and France. All in good fun. And please note the cherry blossom branch in the front window. I made them. And kinda proud that I came up with idea. You see, if I’m not reading I’m embroidering. Making up or adapting designs. So here’s to Paris!

Middlebury Arts Walk! Happening this Friday night, May 9, 5-7pm. Stop by. The theme for 2014 in the store is Words. I’m pretty excited about it. Words in many forms. For Friday night the featured artist is Nancy Scarcello, a self-taught artist, photographer, picture framer, drum maker and set designer from Florence, VT. She’s also a writer and a lover of words (:-)), a sign painter for many years, so creating with words is a melding of her two favorite things, arts and words which is also a vehicle for her to put her universal message out into the world. Perfect for celebrating Words!

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“Heaven is a place with books and cherry trees,” Shakespeare and Company. (From a 2014 email they sent me!)

OCUB @ Sustainable Living Expo 2014

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Otter Creek Used Books will be at this show, March 29th. And looking forward to it. Used books fit right into this philosophy.

Look for Hannah in the gym, booth #M43.  She’ll have oodles of books available for sale from solar building, ecology, farming, herbs and gardening, spirituality, self-sufficiency, vegan cookbooks, to building and repairing houses. The list goes on and on.

I’ll be in the store selling what doesn’t go to the Expo.

Should be a good show. Check it out!

Meeting 2014 Head On!

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Hard to believe but here is 2014. I never do resolutions but this year I’m so into it. Thought I’d share some of what I’ve written down with the store in mind:

  • More bookcases!
  • More shelves!
  • More postings
  • More books online
  • More photos
  • More creativity

I think you get where I’m coming from. More! And it’s not pressure I’m putting on myself but getting totally back involved in the store. I’ve got all these ideas swirling in my head so with the new year it’s time I get those ideas out of the head and into the store. I can easily get bogged down with boxes of books so I’m trying to, I guess, have more fun and letting go. Giving myself permission to not work so hard (sorting, pricing, shelving) but enjoy what I have – an amazing used bookstore. Probably it’s more amazing that I own a used bookstore.

And I want to post interesting books that come in so you see what my inventory is like. Especially since this website is still a blog. Like this book, “Flowers: Their Origins, Shapes, Perfumes & Colours” by J. E. Taylor, Ph.D., F.L.S. Published by John Grant, Edinburgh, 1906, fourth edition:

Flowers_Taylor1 Flowers_Taylor2 Flowers_Taylor4 Flowers_Taylor5

And a quote from the book: “Numbers of hard-working men and women, wearied with brain as well as manual labour, are learning to restore their lowered energies by such country outings as the pursuit of natural science involves. Every day we are proving that “man liveth not by bread alone”; and that sunny blue skies, laughing streams, and flower-bedecked fields are full of lofty and even spiritual teachings.”

Happy New Year!

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“Perhaps that is where our choice lies — in determining how we will meet the inevitable end of things, and how we will greet each new beginning,” from the book BURNING by Elana K. Arnold.

Happy New Year one and all! May 2014 equally bless us with good cheer and fortune.

Thank you for a wonderful 2013.

Barbara Harding, owner

@foundhello discovered in Marble Works

American Flatbread, Marble Works, Middlebury VT

American Flatbread, Marble Works, Middlebury VT

Otter Creek Used Books, Marble Works, Middlebury VT

Mail drop, Marble Works, Middlebury, VT

Mail drop, Marble Works, Middlebury, VT

See the green post-it notes?  The other day, my daughter, Hannah, just returned to the store from checking the mail and walked from the Big Yellow Room towards the Children’s Room when she let out a squeal, “We got a post-it, too!” What? She explained to me that she had seen a post-it note on Flatbread’s outdoor menu board and just discovered one in our store. Well, that has to mean something! Recognizing “@foundhello” was a twitter thing, I went online to check it out. Apparently someone goes around and puts post-it notes on random places for people to find and enjoy. And to encourage. Positive messages. So I grabbed my cell and took photos.

The other day I went to post a letter and as I approached the mail box I noted something green fluttering and lo and behold! another post-it note! Marble Works received three! At least that’s all I found.

I really like the message left in my store. I don’t know if it is a message meant for me but I am taking it to heart. I’m not going out without a good fight! I’ll continue working hard to keep this store open. I don’t want to take my inventory home and be an online used book store. So to whoever you are, thank you! It was a nice treat to find the notes and smile.

I love stuff like this.

 

 

Downside of a Used Bookstore. But the Only One.

used booksI know I’m always saying to customers that owning a used bookstore is everything you’d think it would be but only better. That’s the truth. It is awesome. You can make it anything you want it to be – highly organized to total chaos  – and get away with it because it’s a used bookstore. No rules. Fabulous.

Okay, to come clean, there is a downside of owning a used bookstore. At least to me. What?  It’s buying books. I receive calls daily asking if I’m buying.  People stopping in…and that’s where it gets awkward. Now remember this is strictly for me. It may not be true for other used bookstore owners.

When I purchased the store I bought books from everyone thinking I was beginning a relationship with potential customers. It took me a bit to realize that I generally didn’t see those people ever again.  Lesson learned. So I stopped buying unless I knew the customer, knew they were local or had books which could/would sell in the store. It was a hard lesson and an expensive one in the long run but at the time, I thought it was important.

Now I am, well, most of the time, savvy. At least more so.   If boxes come in that are nasty I really don’t want to open them up to see what’s inside. Some boxes have been just grossness. I don’t like end-of-yard-sales boxes generally either. I’ve learned  people can relieve their conscience by dropping off boxes here than at ACSWD (Addison County Solid Waste District). I won’t even write about the boxes that were full of spiders. Oops, I did. Well, now you know!

The hard part of buying books is quoting a buying price. I don’t like that position at all. Books are subjective. I get it. But many don’t. Yes, your books may be special but sometimes they are generally only special to you. I don’t want to come off snobby here. But facts are facts. And while I’m at it, if it is an old book it doesn’t necessarily make it special either.  As like today, there were crappy books written ages ago. Oh, and number of boxes does not equate a larger pay out. It is not quantity but quality of the books. Repeating: it is not quantity but quality that makes the difference. And while I’m on that subject, the cleaner the books the more money I’m apt to give. I take into consideration of the condition of the book while determining price. And spiders get reduction in price!

When I purchase books I take into account a guesstimate of how long it might sit on the shelf. And how much money I have in my coffers. Also, will I ever see the seller again. By that I mean, is the seller also a buyer? Hint: buyers keep the store alive.

…sigh…

Good! I’ve gotten that out of my system! Now I can move on to another topic. I’ve been sitting on this draft for weeks and weeks. Trying to keep it whimsical, positive. Not sure if it is but time to post and move on.

 

Random Thoughts on Used Bookstore Daily Activities

Sitting here thinking of what I should write and nothing specific is coming to mind. So this post is going to be of random thoughts from this used bookstore lady.

This year for the Middlebury Arts Walk I have been celebrating bookmarks. It was interesting during the first walk I was asked by a customer, “What type of bookmarks are you featuring? For a website?” Huh? It took me a few moments for me to register what she was asking. “For books,” I replied. Then she got confused. I showed her one of the bookmarks and then she understood. Interesting. Come into the store and see the bookmarks I’m offering for sale. They are mostly made by Vermont artists. Only one isn’t.

My reason for choosing bookmarks is to highlight how there are so many cool things for books – actual books with pages one has to manually turn – as opposed to e-readers. One can purchase or make a cool cover but how about bookmarks? Book lights? Book covers? And when the book falls apart you can make art. Well, you could. You don’t have to but you could.

If you have been by the store lately you would have noticed that the vines on the outside of the building has been removed. I was somewhat torn about taking it down but I am very happy with the results. My signage stands out and as you walk by you can actually see my window displays. That excites me very much because that was one thing I missed moving from Main Street – that huge window. Now I have two facing the parking lot. I have to start planning my displays now. Before with the vines the windows were hard to see so I didn’t spend time on them nor changed them often.

Another change on this side of Marble Works is that the Farmers Market has moved over here. The area overlooking the Otter Creek is being re-sod for the new Riverfront Terrace and Walkway. To accommodate those coming to the Market I have been opening the store earlier at 9 a.m. Both Wednesday and Saturdays. It has been great fun for me. I’ve been welcoming even locals who didn’t know I moved the store two years ago. They thought I closed. Once again proving that one can do everything one can to promote a business (in this case) but not everyone is going to get it. Aside from telling each individual. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just the way it is. I’m good with that.

The 50% sale went over very well the previous week. Once again it was an unadvertised sale. It allows me to thank customers – new and old – for their business as well as to turn over inventory. I have many new boxes to add to the store. Including ten boxes stored in my house and those are mighty fine books: world history, WWI, WWII, books on books and more. They are itching to come in. And I’m itching to get them out of the house.

Yesterday – Friday, August 9 – was National Book Lovers Day and all books were 10% off to celebrate. Again, a nice surprise for customers.

I’m in my quiet time of the store -2 pm-3:30. This is the time I close the store for a few minutes to check my mailbox and enjoy some fresh air. So that’s what I going to do. Later.